Pierre-Eugène Fournier

1940-1946: The dark years

Bank of France Governor Pierre-Eugène Fournier was named head of SNCF in 1940. He knew the French rail system well—his 1929 report on the industry's business model and finances had led to SNCF's creation—and he agreed to lead the company during one of the darkest chapters in its history.

Mr Fournier stepped down in August 1946. By the end of World War II, Allied bombings and sabotage by resistance fighters had destroyed three quarters of the rail network, and everything had to be rebuilt.

In November 2010, SNCF apologized for the consequences of its actions while under requisition. During the war, SNCF wagons carried an estimated 76,000 men, women and children to Germany, where they were transferred to concentration camps.